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tv   [untitled]    May 3, 2012 8:30pm-9:00pm EDT

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you get the idea. we heard some of that song before. now, this ballad, "birmingham sunday," the lyrics were written by baez's brother-in-law and recounts the tragic bombing of the baptist church on september 25th, 1953 which killed four young girls and wounded scores, and there were actually civil disturbances in birmingham that night as blacks reacted in anger, and two more young people were killed in the violence that ensued, one by police. ♪ ♪ and the number of killed was the four ♪ ♪ she asked for a blessing and then ask for no more ♪ ♪ and the choir kept singing our freedom ♪
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♪ on birmingham sunday the noise shook the ground ♪ ♪ and people all over the earth turned around ♪ ♪ and all recall a cowardly sound ♪ ♪ and the choir kept singing of freedom ♪ >> shall we keep moving, okay? all right. now, when you listen to nina simone doing "mississippi god damn," you think back to the disillusionment that ann moody describes at the end of coming of age in mississippi, and i think you can understand simone's anger which, of course, she's responding to the
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assassination of medgar evers and -- ♪ ♪ everybody knows about mississippi god damn ♪ ♪ >> the song of is simone's response to the murder of civil rights workers, the bombing of the 16th street baptist church in birmingham. ♪ ♪ they try to say it's a communist block ♪ ♪ but all i want is equality for my sister, my brother, my people and me ♪ ♪ my people and me ♪ you lied to me all these years ♪ ♪ you told me to wash and clean my ears and talk real fine just
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like a lady ♪ ♪ and you stopped calling me sister sadie ♪ ♪ my country is full of lies ♪ we're all gonna die ♪ i don't trust nobody anymore ♪ they keep on saying go slow ♪ yeah, that's what they say, go slow ♪ ♪ well that's just the trouble ♪ desegregation, go slow ♪ matched with anticipation, unification ♪ ♪ go slow ♪ i don't see it ♪ i don't feel it ♪ i don't know i don't know ♪ you don't have to live next to me ♪
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♪ just give me my equality ♪ everybody knows about mississippi ♪ ♪ everybody knows about mississippi god damn ♪ >> okay. well, nina simone can come on a little strong, but i want you to think about the difference between the anger that she's expressing and the anger that someone like malcolm x is expressing. these performers in expressing anger are holding out the hope of change and reconciliation. someone like malcolm x before he left the nation of islam, mind you, is not holding out that kind of hope, so this is -- this is a very personal statement that needs to be viewed on its own terms and not necessarily -- i mean, there are connections between what nina simone was saying and what james baldwin was saying and what dr. king was saying, but i think we make a
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mistake if we lump expressions of anger into a monolithic category, and i think that point will be clear later on. the sncc freedom singers were part of this tradition of civil rights freedom songs, we shall overcome, a well-known version, but this one is a little more topical and reflects a man sent to the united states by the state department to show odinga that racial progress was being made, so sncc kind of takes him under their wing and in some ways the song, like, you know, nina simone just did, reflects sncc's frustration with the federal government and their sense that they are betrayed and unprotected in the face of violence. and in some ways, you know, sncc
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is non-violent. they are sort of having a fantasy identification with the kenyan nationalist who, of course, the kenyan resistance movement used arm struggle, so they are sort of questioning non-violence but that doesn't mean they are going to engage in armed struggle like the kenyans were. it's an outlet for their evident frustration. ♪ to see your king ♪ before he said what's the matter ♪ ♪ to see the king oding ♪ he looks mightily hard ♪ ♪ freedom now ♪ freedom now >> okay.
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♪ i just wanted to say, you noticed in the previous slide, there's a picture of the attack on non-violent protesters in selma, alabama, an event which became known as bloody sunday. this was broadcast on national tv on the nightly news, and -- and these marches in some are campaigning for voting rights, and here you have john lewis who
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is a prominent member of sncc and now congressman from atlanta fell by a state trooper's batons and the song refers to the violence in selma, and this next selection comes from that moment as well. it is a plea, urgent plea for racial understanding by otis redding, and this was recorded in the wake of the violence in selma. ♪ like i said i went to my little brother ♪ ♪ i asked my brother, brother, help me, please ♪ ♪ he turned me down, and then i go to my little mother ♪ ♪ my dear mother
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♪ i said, mother, i said, mother, down on my knees ♪ ♪ there was a time that i thought ♪ ♪ i'm coming, but i know it's been so long, been so long ♪ ♪ to live through all the changes that are coming ♪ >> the other thing that's poignant about this song is that the band playing behind otis redding is an integrated band, booker t and the mgs, two black
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musicians and two white musicians, the stackhouse band in memphis, so -- and, of course, "change is going to come" was written by sam cook who was inspired by bob dylan's anthem "blowing in the wind" so i just wanted to -- to note the -- it's very rare to have an integrated rock or r & b band in the 1960s still. okay. okay. janis ian's "society child," she is singing the story from the standpoint of a white high school city from a northern city who is giving the reasons for breaking off her relationship with her black boyfriend, and with the dream-like refrain "i can't see you anymore, baby. she says she can't continue the relationship because she is society's child. ♪ come to my door baby ♪ face is clean and shining
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black as night ♪ ♪ now i could understand your tears and your shame ♪ ♪ she called you boy instead of your name ♪ ♪ when she wouldn't let you inside ♪ ♪ when she'd turn to sit and honey, he's not our kind ♪ ♪ she says i can't see you anymore, baby ♪ ♪ i can't see you anymore ♪ walk me down to school, baby ♪ everybody's acting different ♪ and they say why don't you just stick to your own kind ♪
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♪ my teachers all laugh ♪ preaching equality ♪ and if they believe it then why won't they just let us be ♪ ♪ they say i can't see you anymore, baby ♪ ♪ can't see you anymore >> it's interesting to note that this song entered the charts about a month after the supreme court decision in loving v. virginia in 1967 which declared laws banning racial intermarriage, a violation of equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. that might explain why the song
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became a hit at that time. probably other explanations as well. the music also had the power to achieve physical effects in the world. james brown was supposed to perform in boston, and his performance was in conjunction with the assassination of dr. king. there was violence all over the country in many cities. the city fathers of boston got together with james brown and decided to have the concert proceed and to broadcast it live on television, on public television, and so the concert went on and -- and it -- it succeeded in keeping the piece in boston, so we'll get a little flavor of his performance which i don't think is noteworthy except i can't help but think about his screams at this particular moment.
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♪ ♪ ♪
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>> okay. yeah, you could say he always screams like that, but at that moment it just seems to carry an additional level of meaning. aretha franklin was one of those artists whose songs were not always political, but this one she is making what i think is a feminist statement, and she actually is responding to james brown's song "this is a man's world," and she -- she's asserting women's right to respect and equality. ♪ take me to heart ♪ and i'll always love you ♪ and nobody can make me do
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wrong ♪ ♪ take me for granted ♪ temptations strong ♪ you should understand ♪ she's not just a play thing
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♪ >> okay. just want to note that writers like nikki giovanni found franklin a very inspiring person, and she was able -- giovanni was able to hear political meanings in franklin's voice. she considered franklin's voice a clarion call representing african-americans' aspirations for freedom at that time. we have so much music here. okay. i'm going to skip ahead to this
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one, because it symbolizes the connection between the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement, and this is a very historic performance. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ [ cheers and applause ] >> okay. you know that sncc came out
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against the vietnam war in january of 1966 and then dr. king opposed the war in april of 1967. for dr. king, it was a very significant break because he had been cultivating an alliance with the johnson administration to pass civil rights legislation. so dr. king became a pariah within american politics for doing that. here's another example of connecting a general civil rights perspective with an anti-war perspective. we're not going to see the whole clip, but in the end of the clip, stevie flashes the peace sign. this, i think, this is the era of black power, which is associated with black militancy. what's interesting is in a lot of this music, you see people trying to project a civil rights-oriented vision of integration and racial harmony, even as they are protesting against the status quo.
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we tend to think of civil rights and black power as a clean break. but i think when you look at the music, you get a sense of the continuity between civil rights. and black power. ♪ ♪ heaven help the girl who walks the streets alone ♪ ♪ heaven help us all ♪ heaven help a black man if he struggles one more day ♪ ♪ heaven help the white man if he turns his back away ♪ ♪ heaven help us all ♪ heaven help us all ♪ heaven help us all
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♪ heaven help us lord, hear our call ♪ ♪ when we call ♪ heaven help a boy that won't reach 21 ♪ ♪ heaven help the man that gave that boy a gun ♪ ♪ heaven help the people with their backs against the wall ♪ >> i think he's alluding to that song by elvis presley "in the ghetto" which describe assad, tragic tale of a young boy who is given a gun and dies in some sort of assault. so at any rate, it's interesting that in this period, particularly after dr. king's assassination, you have not only african-american artists
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producing message songs, but you have other artists as well doing this sort of thing. let's listen to this one. this is in ghana, and this reflects the convergence, the identification of african-americans with africa. but this is a statement of protest against the discrimination that african-americans faced historically in the face of all the contributions they've made to the nation. ♪ ♪ when will we be paid ♪ for what we've done ♪ when will we be paid ♪ for what we've done ♪ we have worked this country from shore to shore ♪ ♪ our women cooked all your food and washed all your clothes ♪ ♪ we picked all your cotton and
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laid the railroad steel ♪ ♪ worked our hands to the bone at your lumber mill ♪ ♪ i said when will we be paid for the work we done ♪ ♪ when will we be paid for the work we done ♪ ♪ we fought in your wars in every land ♪ ♪ to keep this country free for women, children and man ♪ ♪ but any time we asked for a pay or loan ♪ ♪ that's when everything seemed to turn out wrong ♪ ♪ we've been beat up, called names, shot down and stoned ♪ ♪ but every time we do right, someone says we're wrong ♪ ♪ when will we be paid for the work we done ♪ ♪ when will we be paid for the work we done ♪
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>> i see this music and the next selection sort of the music that is, you know, contemporaneous with black power as making the kinds of arguments that some of the black power activists and theorists like carmichael are making. arguments about the continuation of institutional racism in the north and, you know, sort of structural aspects of inequality that prevent african-americans from partaking in the american dream. here's another sort of similar song, but it connects the struggles of african-americans to the anti-apartheid struggle in south africa in 1966. ♪ ♪ don't mean that our brothers are over there ♪
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♪ yes, i hate it when the blood starts flowing ♪ ♪ but i'm glad to see resistance ♪ ♪ somebody tell me what's the word ♪ ♪ tell me brother have you heard from johannesberg ♪ ♪ a lot of people and singing what's the word ♪ ♪ have you heard from johannesburg ♪ ♪ i know that there's something over there that ain't going to free me ♪ ♪ but we've all got to be struggling ♪ ♪ and if we want to be free ♪ and don't you want to be free, free ♪ ♪ somebody, somebody misunderstanding ♪ ♪ and even deep in my heart i'm demanding somebody tell me what's the word ♪
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♪ johannesburg ♪ what's the word ♪ johannesburg ♪ what's the word ♪ say what's the word ♪ they get it from a drum ♪ johannesburg ♪ haven't you heard ♪ somebody tell me what's happening in johannesburg ♪ ♪ what's the word ♪ johannesburg ♪ what's the word ♪ johannesburg ♪ what's the word ♪ johannesburg ♪ what's the word ♪ haven't you heard ♪ somebody tell me what's happening with johannesburg ♪ ♪ philadelphia like johannesburg ♪ ♪ nothing but the word ♪ let me see you, johannesburg
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♪ it ain't nothing but a, ain't nothing but a word ♪ ♪ johannesburg >> gil scott herron, the spoken word artist. he was described there as the first rapper. he's known for the spoken word piece "the revolution will not be televised" and i thought that this would be something a little more appropriate for this presentation. gil scott herron was known for giving, in these spoken word pieces, giving an analysis of the politics of the time for live audiences. his role in doing that was kind of similar to that of dr. king or a malcolm x of engaging in an act of political education for audiences, and he's done many

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